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Published: Sunday, 10/8/2006

Real estate owner was an importer of novelties

Walter H. Anderson, 83, a Toledo native and former owner of the Oliver House, who was a longtime president of Successful Sales Co., of Toledo, died Monday in the Southwest Regional Medical Center in Ft. Myers, Fla. from complications of a stroke.

He retired in Florida 15 years ago, family members said.

Mr. Anderson, whose first job was washing stains of coal soot off windows at his father's South Toledo building, later took over that family business - trading in novelties and carnival artifacts - and expanded the Successful Sales Co. into a wholesale importing and real estate investment firm.

He was a big importer of balloons, stuffed toys, trinkets, toys, and other carnival-related artifacts, said his son, Gregg.

The younger Mr. Anderson said his father ventured into real estate development with his 1967 purchase of the former Oliver House Hotel. He said his father planned to open restaurants and shops in the 19th century building, which now houses the Maumee Bay Brewing Co. - a brew pub, museum, and restaurant.

"My father was innovative," his son recalled. "He enjoyed the challenge of his business. He imported a lot of artifacts from Asia and later decided to purchase older buildings because he wanted to develop them."

In addition to the Oliver House, Mr. Anderson in 1976 purchased the Pythian Castle, a six-story landmark at the corner of Jefferson Avenue and Ontario Street in downtown Toledo.

The younger Anderson said his father enjoyed the task of trying to transform the historic structures. He also enjoyed freshwater fishing and he travelled to much of the world on business and vacations, his son said.

Surviving are his wife Ruth McCormack Anderson; daughter, Barbara Atkinson; son, Gregg; four grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. on Oct. 18 at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Toledo.

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